By Don Kwak
If you are an independent financial advisor looking to find an untapped pool of retirement-ready prospects, look no further than social media marketing, and specifically, advertising on Facebook. It offers a unique set of values to financial advisors unlike any other online or offline marketing platform available today. Whether your goal is to fill up your next seminar, distribute your latest book or generate leads for complimentary financial reviews, you can reach a large audience of previously untapped prospects, while generating leads at a great return of investment.
Paid advertisements on Facebook are the “sponsored” posts that display within the timeline or on the right-side panel. Facebook has a massive 2.2 billion monthly users, and an overwhelming 82.3 percent of baby boomers actively use Facebook, making it a great platform to market to retirement-ready, aged 50-plus prospects in your market. Here are the major components for you to consider in order to execute a successful Facebook campaign as a financial advisor: build your target audience; tailor your marketing message to the audience; and use real-time analytics to optimize your message and campaign.
Identify Your Target Audience
Identifying a specific set of Facebook users to display your ad to is critical to achieving meaningful results. Imagine seeing that your ad had 30,000 impressions and spent through your allocated budget but didn’t generate a single lead, because it was displayed to a young adult audience in the wrong regional market with neither interest nor available net assets for your services. This can actually happen, unless you specify a target audience for your ad using the audience customization tools. Here’s a simple, two-step process to get to the pool of highest-qualified potential leads on Facebook.
First, identify your ideal client profile to get a deep understanding of who you want to target. It is a strategy to effectively understand the common traits of your best leads, to identify which of your prospects are higher quality and which are not. A financial advisor can apply this valuable information to optimize all marketing activities, beyond just identifying the target audience for a Facebook ad.
Now, with your idea of the best client profile in mind, use the numerous customization tools available on the Facebook Advertisement platform to specify the types of Facebook users your ad should only be shown to. Broadly speaking, the most important categories to specify are demographics, location, interests and behaviors. Demographics include information, such as age, gender and primary language spoken. Location is the area where your best prospects would likely live. Interests are the subjects, and Facebook groups what your prospects follow. Finally, behaviors are actions such as their purchase history or intent.
For example, you can specifically market from 50 to 64 year olds living within a 15-mile radius of your primary office with available assets of $250K, with interests and behaviors related to retirement planning. This kind of capability for pinpoint accuracy is an extremely valuable marketing tool for financial advisors, considering its effectiveness in improving your marketing ROI.
Tailor Your Message
With your hyper-targeted audience of prospects now established, writing a relevant, creative and captive ad to display is the next critical step to maximize your returns.
What is a relevant ad? To put it into the context of the previous example of the targeted audience, we can be sure that an ad prompting that group to provide their contact information to download a Comprehensive Retirement Planning Guide whitepaper would generate a lot more leads than an ad offering a guide to getting a mortgage as a first-time home buyer. Ad relevance is about tailoring to your prospects’ interests and goals, and it will contribute to a successful advertising campaign.
Creative and captive images and text descriptions are just as important in rounding out a strong Facebook ad. To stand out from the sea of information that floods social media platforms today, having images and texts that clearly communicate the value of your solution is essential. Don’t worry as much about having a short or a lengthy text. Rather, focus on communicating everything that should be in the ad—the what and why. Similarly, the images should either show what the call-to-action is or instill an influential emotion that drives actions.
Learn from the Robust Analytics
Analytics are extremely valuable because you can dissect the data to understand what works, what doesn’t and how you can improve your marketing results as a financial advisor. Facebook as a marketing channel is unlike any other because it allows you to see detailed metrics in real-time while your campaign runs, allowing you to make tweaks and optimizations immediately to the running ad. Snail mail, for example, is one of few other forms of outbound marketing channels to reach untapped prospects, but it doesn’t even come close when it comes to the depth and timeliness of the analytics that you can gain from it. For example, when the metrics show that the ad is getting stale, you can make quick changes to the text and/or the image(s) to refresh it. While it takes a constant effort, the result will, again, be a stronger ROI on your ad campaign.
Find the Right Expert
Most financial advisors turn to a dedicated manager or a third party to run marketing campaigns on Facebook. Finding the right person or firm is critical to achieving success, because simply knowing “how to buy Facebook ads” isn’t enough. To be successful, your Facebook expert should understand: 1. Consumer behavior of the 50-plus demographic; 2. Dynamics of the financial industry; 3. Compliance; 4. Lead capture mechanisms; and 5. How to nurture and modify campaigns. Just as picking the right financial advisor is vital to great financial success, keep in mind that picking the right personnel for Facebook marketing can make a big difference in the success of your ad campaign.
Don Kwak is Digital Marketing Manager at Lone Beacon.